You are looking at a performance from our archive
Four old masters. Four young, up-and-coming soloists. Baroque Revisited catapults the music of Bach, Pandolfi Mealli, Von Biber and Barriere into the 21st century, in a theatrical performance which makes maximum use of all possibilities available in the concert hall. Composer Sarah Nemtsov has put the material together into a new, evening long work, in which the parallels and contrasts between the composers are given a strong physical presence by the spatial grouping of the soloists and strings of Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop.
Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop is coming to the Holland Festival again – with two programmes this time. One of them is Baroque Revisited, a concert in which early and new music come together in a special way. Baroque Revisited is a laboratory for theatrical and musical ideas and a meeting place for theory and practice. In this piece the Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop from Berlin combines forces with composer Sarah Nemtsov (b. 1980) and four young soloists who have been selected for Amsterdam’s prestigious Jumpstart Jr. programme.
Established in 2006, Jumpstart Jr. is a Dutch foundation that oversees a unique collection of historical string instruments, each of them built by master instrument makers and selected for the foundation by prominent Baroque musicians. Jumpstart Jr. makes these valuable instruments with catgut strings available for young musicians who have already completed their studies and are expected to have a great solo career as performers of Baroque, classical or early romantic music. Jumpstart Jr. also coaches the musicians in its programme and enables them to participate in special projects like Baroque Revisited.
The four participating soloists are the Icelandic violinist Elfa Rún Kristinsdóttir, who is also concertmaster of Kaleidoskop; the Bulgarian violinist Zefira Valova; the American cellist Steuart Pincombe; and the French-English cellist Vladimir Waltham. In Baroque Revisited, these soloists have been asked to define themselves through the work of composers with whom they feel a special affinity. They chose the French cellist Jean-Baptiste Barrière (1707-1747), the Italian violinist Pandolfi Mealli (ca. 1630-ca. 1669/1670) and the Austrian violinist Heinrich von Biber (1644-1704). The fourth composer is Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).
Each of these favourite composers has a clearly distinguished place in musical history, and in Baroque Revisited these four distinctive ‘musical spaces’ form the foundations of a new contemporary composition. The German composer Sarah Nemtsov has written a work for a full evening’s programme that in an original manner interweaves the extremely diverse musical worlds of Barrière, Mealli, Von Biber and Bach with each other and with the modern listener’s experience. Sometimes the works of these composers sound like an integral part of the whole, other times they are reduced to their essence or are barely recognizable, disguised in a new form; they overlap one another or flow into each other. To Nemtsov’s great credit, she translates their individuality and characteristic styles into her own idiom, letting them shine through in a musical world that is completely her own.
Although Baroque Revisited is conceived for a traditional concert hall, the programme uses the space in an unconventional manner, aimed at radicalizing the possibilities. Playing a role in this is the Actor-Network theory, which postulates that people not only interact with one another but also, and just as much, with objects and spaces. Musicians play parts of the work in an anteroom, in the hallways, under the stage or in the foyer, bringing the spatial division between performers and audience into sharp relief. With the help of a clever lighting design, Baroque Revisited shows the endless variations that can found off the beaten paths of the classical concert formula.
Baroque Revisited is an explicitly ambitious project, its goal being nothing less than to reshape the way we experience concerts, to redefine our presence as listeners in a concert hall as well as our ideas about that – such ‘early’ versus ‘new’ music.